A bell. A small silver bell that once adorned a Torah scroll in a shul in Nazi Germany. It was November 9 and 10th, 1938 which came to be known as Kristallnacht or Reichskristallnacht, also referred to as the Night of Broken Glass-for the shards of broken glass that littered the streets after the windows of Jewish-owned stores, buildings, and synagogues were smashed. My amazing grandmother was about 11 years old when this happened in her town. She remembers walking into her synagogue a few days after that hate-filled night. In the midst of the torn pieces of the sacred Torah scrolls, the broken glass, and the thousands of ripped pages of the prayer books she found a small silver bell sticking out of the debris. She picked it up and put it in her pocket.
My grandmother was lucky in a sense. She was put on a boat at the age of 13 to take a three week trip to America completely and utterly alone. She met my grandfather and they had two kids one of them being my mom— and the rest they say, is history – or is it?
A few months ago, when I was visiting her, she handed me a small jewelry box. Inside was that very bell that she recovered in 1938 a few days after Kristallnacht. It was one of the few possessions she hid on her person and took with her to America when she escaped. She had never told anybody about the bell until recently. But now she gave it to me knowing that it will serve as a testament to generations past and future that we should never forget.

Source: Tamara Edelstein


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